Mother by a Cradle, Portrait of Leonie Rose Davy-Charbuy, 1887
Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890)
Leonie Rose Davy-Charbuy was the niece of the art dealer Pierre Firmin-Martin. She lived in her uncle’s house, which is where this portrait was painted (and which also explains the number of paintings in the background). Martin was a friend of Theo’s, and had a number of Vincent’s works in his shop.
In 1887 Theo wrote to his mother, ‘Vincent has painted a number of singular portraits which have turned out well, but he always does them without payment.’ Van Gogh may have painted the niece of a well-known art dealer in order to establish a reputation as a portrait painter, and thereby to earn a living by it.